Sometimes it hurts to say what’s true.
So we avoid difficult conversations because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. What we have to say will disappoint them. Make them feel sad. Maybe even break their heart.
Or we remain silent because we’re afraid that someone might think less of us when they learn the truth. We fear that what we reveal will cause them to judge or reject us.
It takes courage to say what’s true when we know it’s going to hurt.
But we need to say it anyway.
Because hiding the truth doesn’t make it go away.
Truth doesn’t magically become untrue by remaining unsaid. The unspoken truth is still the truth.
And when the truth is finally revealed (as it’s in the habit of doing!) the hurt we tried so desperately to avoid by staying silent will land with full – maybe even greater – force. Wreaking havoc on us and our relationships.
Even if we know the truth is going to hurt, we need to say it anyway.
Because we belong to one another.
Belonging to one another means we care enough to treat each other with honor and respect.
Hiding the truth is like saying, “I don’t respect you or your right to know what’s going on or how I feel. In fact, I don’t think you can handle it. So I’ll just keep it to myself.”
This kind of thinking is dangerous in any relationship and will prove toxic over time. If you’ve ever felt the sting of betrayal or sense of confusion when someone close to you chose to keep something from you, then you know what I mean.
While it’s tempting to believe we’re saving someone’s feelings by not telling them the truth, in reality, we’re treating them disrespectfully and eroding the trust we share.
So we need to say what’s true, even when it hurts.
Because saying what’s true deepens and strengthens our relationships.
When we speak the truth in love, we give the other person the opportunity to respond. To explain or apologize if they’ve hurt us. To ask questions and work toward reconciliation or compromise. If we withhold the truth, our relationship won’t be able to move forward. It will stay stuck and eventually turn into something very different from the authentic closeness we desire.
So even when it’s hard to say what’s true, we need to say it anyway.
Because the truth sets us free.
Free from the real and lasting hurt that inevitably comes when we hide the truth in our relationships. Free from building up false hopes and expectations. From basing our bond on false promises or misconceptions.
The truth sets us free to pursue what’s next with all the facts we need to make sound decisions as we move forward.
It’s time to stop avoiding difficult conversations and find the courage to say what’s true.
Bathe it in prayer. Ask God for wisdom and discernment. But say it.
Say it with love and respect. Examine your motives and speak up. Not with a spirit of criticism. Or only to clear your conscience. And never with the intent to cause harm. But with your eye on the prize of reconciliation and grace. Remembering that it’s an act of love and a step of faith to say what’s true.
Speaking truth takes courage. Especially when that truth has the power to hurt you or someone you love. It can be uncomfortable. It might be unpleasant. But we say it anyway because we belong to each other. And we want the kind of relationships that God wants for us – authentic relationships, based in truth and meant to last.